I happened to read a theater review yesterday because it was near me and I needed something to read - and I think this is, hands down, THE worst review of a play that I have ever read. Here are the opening two paragraphs:
"Planting Shelly Anne," the newest offering from the Workhaus Collective, is a play that ought to be buried deeply in the ground.
Jeannine Coulombe's narcissistic, jumbled, 95-minute whine-a-thon is dreadful in almost every respect: Its storytelling is bloated, infuriating navel-gazing exacerbated by a playwright in love with her own voice. Its staging is affected and ineffectual. The performances are the best thing about it, but — obviously — that's not saying much.
There are many, many other negative comments in this review, but the one that stands out is this: "John Riedlinger and young Renee Roden do no harm completing the cast as Shelly Anne's inattentive husband and bratty, neurotic daughter."
I wonder, is it really conscionable to write such a nasty review? On the other hand, was the reviewer left any choice? I felt bad for the playwright and director (the actors mostly seemed to be treated more kindly, as the critic focused his displeasure on the staging and the play itself).
The entire review can be found here, for now.